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September 6, 2007 Issue

National Recognition
Louisville institutes curfew
Council seats contested in Wrens, Gibson and Louisville

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National Recognition

Good Golly, Dr. Molly


• Jefferson County High School principal Dr. Molly Howard named NASSP National Principal of Year

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Even before State School Superintendent Kathy Cox’s helicopter landed on the front lawn of Jefferson County High School, many knew it was a special day.

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007, is now known as Dr. Molly Parish Howard Day in Jefferson County.

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This honor was bestowed on the principal of Jefferson County High School shortly after it was announced at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday that she has been chosen as the MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principal’s (NASSP) National High School Principal of the Year.

In a gymnasium filled with family, friends, colleagues, JCHS faculty and students, Cox gave Dr. Howard a high five when Assistant Superintendent Dr. Donnie Hodges told the crowd gathered that this was the most fulfilling moment in her educational career as she announced that Dr. Howard is to receive the national recognition.

Representatives from MetLife and the NASSP spoke of Dr. Howard’s achievements as an innovative leader. Since 1995, Dr. Howard has led the school’s faculty and students through the rocky beginnings of consolidating Louisville and Wrens high schools, guiding them to be recognized as one of the best high schools in the state of Georgia.

Since the school’s inception, Dr. Howard has worked closely with teachers and other staff to make sure students feel safe and appreciated all while learning at a high level.

“I would not hesitate to say that Molly has the best rapport and trust with students in this state – even the nation,” Superintendent Carl Bethune said last week. “Students know she cares.

She is not reluctant to use tough love, humor, a display of raw feelings, or a good cop/bad cop routine to get to the truth and make decisions in the best interest of students.

“Just walking down the hall with her, I see students from all walks of life giving her high fives, hugs and quiet smiles.

Notes from students are taped all over her office door seeking her advice and wanting her help.

The philosophy of JCHS is clear – do whatever it takes to keep students in school and to make sure that students feel safe and appreciated.

“I have seen her go get a student out of bed to take a test, use creative scheduling to get credit recovery and stand on the sidelines with the players at every football game. She does all she can to ensure that students are not allowed to fail or drop-out.”

Many officials in the community including school board members, mayors, city council members, commissioners and law enforcement were on hand Tuesday to congratulate Dr. Howard

“The board and staff of the Jefferson County School System congratulate Dr. Howard on this well deserved national honor and recognition,” School Board Chairman Jimmy Fleming said before the event. “While she possesses all the technical skills and knowledge required of a great principal it is her heart and soul that makes her such an effective educator and school leader. She truly cares for and desires the best for her students and staff. We are truly thankful and privileged to have her associated with Jefferson County Schools. Congratulations, Molly.”

During the ceremony honoring Dr. Howard in the JCHS gymnasium Tuesday, she received awards from the NASSP, MetLife and State Superintendent Cox.

NASSP President Barry Stark recognized Dr. Howard as the best among the best high school principals in the country.

“She is receiving this award for her innovative leadership and her dedication to Jefferson County High School,” Stark said.

Cox has worked closely with Dr. Howard to teach other schools how she makes JCHS work and reach new heights each year.

“The thing I love most about Molly Howard is that she sets the bar for you students way up here…she really expects you to do great things,” Cox told the students Tuesday. “It doesn’t surprise me that she won this award. If you have never heard her talk about you, to someone else, you’ve missed something. She talks about her students with pride, dignity, hope and love every time she talks of you.”

Cox recognized that Dr. Howard has taken the graduation rate from 52.6 percent in 2003 to 68.1 percent, and said she knows Dr. Howard will not be satisfied until 100 percent of Jefferson County’s students graduate with a meaningful diploma.

“She comes to Atlanta with ideas, motivation, drive and passion,” Cox said. “She has ideas about what we need to do across Georgia.”

The several times Dr. Howard was called to the podium during the ceremony, she was met with cheers and the sound of hands clapping as students, teachers and others who attended recognized her achievements.

In her 30 years of education, Dr. Howard said the moment was worth every single minute of it. Recognizing her administration and students, Howard said she was blessed.

“I am most privileged to work with the greatest faculty and staff and students anywhere in the United States of America,” she said. “I would not trade places with anyone in this world. Warriors, this day belongs to you. You have all earned this award. You’ve allowed me to lead. You do the real work, teachers and students; you do the work in the classroom every day. That’s where the magic happens. This is all about you.”



Louisville institutes curfew

• Parents will be held responsible for minors out after 11 p.m.

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

In a move to curb juvenile violence, the city of Louisville voted to adopt a new juvenile evening curfew.

The ordinance was signed into affect by the council Aug. 14.

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“It basically limits persons under the age of 18 from being out unsupervised from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” Police Chief Jimmy Miller explained, adding that there are some provisions for special cases, “Unless they are going to and from work, there is an emergency or some sort of school function.”

The city and Police Department hope the new curfew will cut down on citizens in Louisville being victimized by these juveniles.

This approach makes sure that the juveniles causing crime will be punished along with the parents who have failed to keep track of where their children are and what they are doing, according to Chief Miller.

“We had to have something to try and curtail some of the kids that are out roaming the streets all night long,” Miller said. “They are creating assaults on people, break-ins and thefts.

We hate to have to start to dictate when they can come and go and what time they have to be in the house, but the parents should already be doing that. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do to change some of the problems we have going on.”

City Administrator Don Rhodes said that this is something that was brought to the city’s attention at meetings.

“We have had several citizens come to council meetings and talk about teenagers loitering on the street corners,” Rhodes said.

“The citizens that came wanted council to adopt an ordinance because they had heard other cities had something to that affect.” The city of Wrens also has a curfew for juveniles on its streets.

“This targets the parents,” Miller said.

“The penalty will not only fall on the child with juvenile law but on the parents. The first offense will be brought before the court and the parents will be given a warning. Any subsequent offense will be a fine or punishment deemed suitable by the court.

“With the changes of juvenile rules, we can only cite them. We can cite them 50 times and nothing can be done about it. Until now, there was nothing to deter it. We knew we had to find some other tool to work with.

This ordinance will be looked at in December to see if it has taken care of the problem we are dealing with.”

Miller admitted that for the past 18 months to two years, there has been an increase of weapons, mainly guns, on the streets in the hands of juveniles.

“They used to fight, but now they pull guns on everybody,” Miller said. “Guns seem to be the answer.”

Recently a juvenile was charged in a burglary at Dairy Queen and other thefts and assaults.

Last week, Vincent Tarver, 19, and Darrell Washington, 17, were charged with simple assault after shooting out street lights and pulling a gun on a 17-year-old victim threatening to shoot him.

As recently as Saturday night, Miller said two juveniles approached two people and robbed them at gunpoint. “These were young 15- to 18-year old kids,” Miller said. “And it was all because their moms and daddies don’t know where they are and the juvenile system won’t let us do anything with them.

“Down the road these kids will be in some trouble from this. We hope the curfew will keep them off of the streets and stop the confrontations.”

During the summer, reports have been made of the Sunday afternoon loitering that happens in the Broad Street area of downtown Louisville.

“There were a few instances where there was fighting down there and that stuff came from out of town to here,” Miller said. “We’ve had reports of gunshots down there, too. A lot of that occurs on late Sunday afternoon.

They seem to leave one area in the county and come here as a place to gather. The proof is in the litter on the street Monday morning.”

Miller as well as the city hopes that the actions taken to pass the curfew will save the lives of the victims as well as the juveniles.

“If we don’t take some sort of proactive response now and try to get these kids headed in the right direction and get the parents to take some responsibility with the kids, we will have some serious things down the road with these kids.”

Miller said that right now they are trying to get the news of the curfew out to the parents and other citizens, but the Police Department will begin to cite juveniles and parents at the end of the month.

“Any help we can get is a benefit,” Miller said.

“If they see them walking up and down the streets, call in and report it. It can be anonymous and we will respond to it.”

Miller also asked for citizens to call in any reports of gunfire.



Council seats contested in Wrens, Gibson and Louisville

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

For the last two weeks, incumbents and candidate hopefuls have been qualifying across the two county area to fill the seats that are up for grabs in the upcoming special elections and November election.

Cities with seats open are Wadley, Avera, Stapleton, Gibson, Mitchell, Edgehill, Louisville and Wrens.

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The city of Edgehill was to hold a special election on Sept. 18 to fill the unexpired term of council member Roy Black on the city council, but now will not.

During the qualifying period held two weeks ago, no one qualified for the position.

There are currently two council members and a mayor for the city.

A spokesperson for the city said that the council and mayor can choose to appoint someone or hold qualifying before the next special election date in March.

The city of Mitchell held qualifying for three council members last week whose terms expire on Dec. 31. The council members are Amy Borton for Post 3, Hubert Pulliam for Post 4 and William H. Wilcher for Post 5.

Incumbent Borton will retain her seat while Dewayne Faglier will take Post 5 and Lynn Pulliam will take Post 4. No election will be needed.

Gibson also held qualifying for two city council positions held by Warren Pittman and Paul Hinton and for Mayor Gregg Kelley. Qualifying for the council seats were Dean Reese and incumbents Pittman and Hinton.

On Nov. 6, the two with the most votes will take the seats on the city council. Incumbent Kelley was the only person who qualified for mayor.

The city of Stapleton will not hold an election in November. Council members Jason Irby and Kayleigh Sheppard were the only citizens who qualified for the two council seats. Mayor Harold Smith’s seat also expires at the end of December, but no one qualified to fill it.

The city clerk said that the Mayor Pro-tem will start the year off and it is up to the city council if they will hold qualifying for the special election in March.

The city of Avera held qualifying for three council seats held by Charles Padgett, Leisa Hadden and Warren Mathis.

Padgett and Mathis both qualified for their seats, along with Ronnie Hadden who will take Mathis’s seat. No election will be held.

Incumbents in Wadley will hold on to their positions which included Albert Samples and Edith Pundt.

In the city of Louisville, Tom Watson is unopposed.

He was the only citizen to qualify for his council seat.

The seat currently held by James Davis, who did not qualify this year, will be filled by Larry Atkins or Elmo Hutchinson who will face off in November.

The city of Wrens will have the most action on the November ballot with five qualifying for council seats and two for the mayoral seat. Incumbents Sydney Lamb McGahee and Ceola B. Hannah, along with Earnest Rozier, Wylie Prescott and Wayne Favors all qualified for the council positions. Incumbent Dollye W. Ward and William Lester Hadden both qualified for mayor.

Hadden was serving on the city council and resigned to run for mayor. A special election will be held concurrently with the Nov. 6 regular election to fill the unexpired council seat of Hadden.

The qualifying period for the seat will be Monday, Sept. 10 through Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Qualifying will be conducted by the City Clerk in the Wrens City Hall building at 401 Broad Street.

The qualifying fee for the office is $72. Anyone who plans to vote in the election that will be held Nov. 6 should register by the closing of business Tuesday, Oct. 9.




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